Queen Among the Dead
by Lesley Livingston
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Pub Date 17 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 17 Jan 2023
Zando Projects, Zando Young Readers
A stunning Celtic YA fantasy adventure set in the ancient kingdom of Eire, inspired by the legend of the first true queen of Ireland, perfect for fans of Shelby Mahurin and Adrienne Young.
In the kingdom of Eire, banshees chill the air, and water-wights lurk in the rivers. But magic is outlawed by the king, and jealously hoarded by his Druid priests.
Neve is the youngest daughter of the king, and Ronan is a Druid's apprentice-turned-thief, making a living by selling stolen spells. They should be enemies, but their shared hatred of the Druids-and a dark magic that has marked them both-makes them unlikely, if uneasy, allies.
When Eire is threatened by a power struggle, Neve must seize the chance to take her rightful place on her family's throne, with the help of Ronan and the realm's most dangerous outcasts. Their journey takes them to the outskirts of Eire where magic still runs free . . . and where an outlaw and a warrior princess might carve out a future with spells and swords.
Lesley Livingston vividly reimagines Irish legends and fairytales to craft a YA fantasy adventure that will captivate readers of Brigid Kemmerer and Tricia Levenseller.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 107 members
If you connected with Disney's Brave, love YA fantasy, and want more Celtic lore on your bookshelf.... This book was tailor made for you.
The story reads very much like Merida/Jasmine, in an Irish setting. A princess who wants to escape the court and get out to see the world on her own, but not give up what makes her her. Magic and mystery, Xena vibes, mayhem, outlaws, war, and fae.... All wrapped up in a pretty green bow and presented like a prized feast for the senses.
This was a super interesting read! From the magical Celtic setting, to the amazing characters, to the intriguing plot, this book had me hooked! I haven't read many YA fantasy books set in a magical Celtic setting so this was a nice change from the norm for me. I loved how the magic worked and the unique monsters.
I loved the characters in this book. Neve is such a great protagonist. She's not perfect, yet she's someone you want to root for. Ronan is mysterious and hard to get a feel for at first, but I couldn't help rooting for him, too (even when his interests didn't always seem to align with Neve's).
The plot of the story kept me on my toes. There was more than one twist in the story that I didn't see coming, which I appreciated.
4 stars, and looking forward to reading more from this author!
First of all as soon as I saw the words Celtic Princess. Instantly was like yess I need to read this!! Truly an amazing fantasy novel. One of the best I've read recently. Neve was so well wrote. I connected so much to the story. I truly hope this book gets the hype it very much deserves. Cause that ending is splendid!!
A great Celtic story with great action and an amazing protagonist. Neve was amazing and her adventures were captivating. And now I'm reading more Celtic mythology because this was great!
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own
Thanks to #Netgalley for letting me read an eArc of #QueenAmongtheDead by #LesleyLivington.
I'm a sucker for Celtic lore so this book was a must read for me and should be for you as well. Filled with magic it's full of banshees, shapeshifters, and Druids.
Magic has been outlawed as dangerous by the King, but Eire is suffering without her wild magic running through her soil. Spells are being traded under the Kings nose and magic still used by those skilled enough and savy enough to stay hidden. Meanwhile the Druids are the only ones allowed to practice magic and are building a massive temple for Princess Neve's father. Never finds herself stuck between being what her father wants and being herself. Of following the magic that calls to her blood and the voice of her ancestor in her head slowly changing who she is. With the help of an outcast named Ronan maybe she can set to rights her kingdom and bring Eire back to life.
I loved that this book was inspired by Irish lore. I also appreciated the glossary at the beginning of the book that explained and defined the various people groups of the novel. It made reading about them a little easier to follow.
This book immediately had me smiling and silently chuckling. (Sometimes not so silently.) Neve is a fun, sassy character. She and Ronan have great chemistry; I enjoyed their bantering.
I thought the battle scenes were well written. I’ve read so many books where the build up is great, but the battle is very anticlimactic. Not so with this novel! I was not let down.
Thank you NetGalley and Zando Young Readers for this digital arc in exchange for my honest review which is not affiliated with any brand.
A fantasy set in an alternate Ireland full of celtic lore and magic spells and druids? Yes please! And this book filled all my hopes and more! Sometimes the description of a book is better than the actual novel, but that is not the case here. This was a well written novel that was imbued with all the magic of the ancient Celtic society, and the author obviously had done her research, as although this is a fantasy, she clearly understood that earlier civilization. I really enjoyed this book and I hope the author will continue to write many more like these!
I was hooked from the very beginning into this action-packed tale. It’s a story full of mystery and wonder, with darkness lurking in every corner. Reading this book is a tangible experience. I was sucked into everything that was happening. Sometimes it can take me a while to get my feet firmly into a story, but that was not the case for this one.
I love how in-depth everything is. I often find that sometimes details are glanced over that could really add to a story’s strength, but this one is delightfully detailed without being fluffy. It finds a perfect balance that I think all fantasy readers will appreciate.
I immediately adored the sassy and fierce Neve. I love a good strong heroine that breaks the mold she is being forced into. If you like a girl with grit, you’re going to love Neve. And who can resist the wily bandit, Ronan, that she finds her path inexplicably linked with. I love their chemistry and banter from the moment they meet.
The author does a great job of showing us the characters’ personalities and motivations through their actions and dialogue. And we really get a transformative adventure seeing Neve’s growth as she evolves into the woman she both needs to be and truly is in her core.
Full disclosure, I know next to nothing about Celtic mythology, so I cannot speak to any accuracies as far as things in the story that are based on fact or purely fictional. But I think that is a good perspective to have on behalf of other readers because, even with no prior knowledge, I was able to follow along nicely with the story without any confusion. So, if you are like me and don’t know anything about Celtic lore, don’t worry. This book gives all the explanations you need to understand the world-building.
And what a wonderfully magical world it is, at that. If you love a story that is richly steeped in dense legends and magical gods, this is the perfect book for you. It’s an emotional story, at times, with lots of political intrigue through different factions of rebels and royalty vying for power. The complexity and layering of the plot is exquisite and the insight into the mythology is mesmerizing.
The writing style and tone is perfectly matched with the atmosphere of the story. The author paints vivid scenery that immerses you into every page. I felt as though I could envision every part of this journey. The ending is both compelling with its surprising twists and satisfying with its neat conclusion of events.
I highly recommend this book and it definitely deserves all five stars. I’m super excited to add this author to my list of favorites and I can’t wait to read anything she writes next.
Recommend for readers who love:
- Fierce female protagonist
- Rich lore and world-building
- Action-packed plot sequence
- Raw and gritty
- Tales of destiny
Riveting storytelling, full of fierce queens, secrets, moors, humid, chilled air... a great re-imagining of Irish lore.
Queen Among the Dead was absolutely fantastical! Livingston wrote a story that was so well written I found myself flying through the pages, unable to put the book down, pondering what would happen next. My favorite piece of this entire story was how believable the characters were.
The writing is clear and clean, and very immersive. The book hums along at a good clip, but the pacing makes sure we're given time to breathe between plot-intensifying moments. The story was absolutely engaging and the work that went into the settings was noticeable and superb. I felt absolutely transported and I'm so incredibly glad I was able to read an arc of this story.
Queen Among the Dead completely surprised me in a wonderful way. Neve, the younger of two royal princesses, and Ronan, a priest’s apprentice turned thief, have their first encounter as children. Their next meeting, in young adulthood, links them in with battle unexpected enemies on all sides, despite their different and sometimes contentious backgrounds. They rally unexpected allies and personal strengths they hadn’t known they had in order to rescue their land, Eire, from deadly foes.
While I occasionally got frustrated by the apparent lack of connection from chapter to chapter, it was well worthwhile continuing on to see how all the story threads wove together in the end.
I highly recommend this story to anyone, especially those interested in history and fantasy.
Neve is the youngest princess and Ronan is a Druid's apprentice/thief. They become uneasy allies... Neve must seize the throne with Ronan when the kingdom is threatened by a power struggle....
Lots of romance, court intrigue and action. Love both characters. Really like the setting and cast too. A terrific story with lots of wonderful characters. Terrific ending.
Thanks to the publisher for the arc.
What a ride! Livingston has written an engaging book that, despite being historical fiction, I could sell to my students as action or fantasy (it's an easier sell for most of them). While the ending felt rushed, the rest of it was an absorbing adaptation of Irish mythology.
Thanks to Netgalley and Zando Projects for the ebook ARC. All opinions are mine alone.
Celtic mythologies? Sign me up! This book was so easy to jump into and read. The world building was so detailed yet I found it extremely easy to understand as I was reading. The characters all had their own complexities and stories to tell which I found so interesting and really hooked me into the plot of the story. I'll be honest when I say Lorcan was truly my favourite because he really did seem like a good man. Neve was another character who I loved because she genuinely seemed strong and truly loved her people.
The way the mythology was woven through the book was so perfectly done, I found myself really enjoying that aspect as I read. While there were some spots that weren't as well paced as others, overall the book was done really well and had me falling in love with the world Lesley created.
Thank you NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was very enjoyable. Both familiar, in that the myths should always feel like we knew them deep down, but with plenty of twists that made sense, even if I didn’t see them coming. The narrative itself is cyclical as most myths will be, but has some beautiful symmetry that gives the entire story the feel of a an epic poem or ballad, which I suppose, at the core, is what it is. While the plot fully resolves, it leaves the door open for further adventures, and I feel like Neve and the gang will be doing much more for the bards to sing about.
"Queen Among the Dead" was an enjoyable story. I liked how the author incorporates traditional Irish/Celtic mythology and near Eastern (Egyptian and Scythian) mythology. The story focuses on Neve, the younger daughter of Ruad Rofhessa, the Dagda (Good God) of the Tuatha De, the ruler of Eire, and Ronan, a former Druid's apprentice turned thief. They had a life-altering encounter as teenagers, when Ronan saves Neve from a ban sidhe demon, and then Neve saves him from the fuath demon he summoned to defeat the ban sidhe. Neve and Ronan will not meet again until seven years later. The encounter with the fuath demon has changed Ronan, for which he blames Neve. Their encounters are tense, as neither one really trusts or understands the other. However, a series of internal and external threats will force them to work together and will result in them discovering unexpected things about themselves, including that they both possess great magical abilities and that they are more alike than they realize. The story has plenty of action and intrigue, with some rather good surprises.
I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
I chose Queen Among The Dead for its beautiful book cover and the fact that it spoke of Celtic/Irish folklore. I'm no historian of Irish/Celtic mythology, just a fan, but the book's synopsis alone had me hooked.
Livingston tells a dual perspective from Neve, the main character, the King's youngest daughter, feisty, fierce, and dubiously determined to make the realm better for her people.
Since her father, the King, has outlawed magic and deemed it dangerous, spells are still being marketed and sold unbeknownst to the King. So while the King's Druids are resurrecting a temple on the King's behalf, his Kingdom is suffering without magic.
Neve, the ever-restless child of his, goes into the village and bumps into a thief, Ronan. Ronan is a smuggler of spells who just happened to be expelled from Druid school. So now he wants nothing more than to see the Druids gone from power.
Unlikely allies as the two may be, Neve and Ronan set course on the journey to save the people of Eire and, more importantly, extricate the Kingdom and its return to practice "MAGIC" because, without magic, the Kingdom is "DOOMED."
Livingston delivers a cleverly crafted Y/A novel with a breathtaking and imaginatively impressively descriptive world.
Livingston's characters are ambitious and likable, especially her main character Neve, with her heroic female role.
Livingston's word-building is thought-provoking and engaging; readers will be thankful for her glossary accompaniment.
You get a slow burn, enemies, to friends with a compounding stellar ending.
The deciding factor is that the excellent storyline will look for the author's future novels.
Kudos to Livingston!
Thank you, NetGalley/Lesley Livingston/ Zando Projects.Zando Young Readers/ For this eARC, for my honest review. My opinions are of my own volition.
I picked this up purely on the mention of Celtic mythology as mythology from across the world is a growing interest of mine and my students. It was an enjoyable story that also learnt into Eastern European mythology at times that I think my students will adore (reflected in my rating)
This is such an absolutely thrilling read.
I knew immediately that I wanted to read this book because who doesn't love Celtic myths I truly think that there should be more fantasy novels based on them.
Like all good epic fantasy, the beginning always has me completely confused and going back and forth between knowing what's going on and having zero clue. I love this type of writing because it is without the info dumping and instead throws you into the action which is amazing.
Ms. Livingston does an amazing job of world-building. Everything she wrote makes me want to visit her world. The characters are absolutely minding blowing!
I can't say too much without spoiling everything... but I loved this book and can not wait to own it in paperback as well as see more from this author.
If you like a good tale of fae set back in the day, a wonderful historic fantasy, then this is the book for you.
I loved this book because of the detailed use of the myths and legends of the Fae in Ireland, a land rich in stories to start with. You have the daughter of the Dadga, a Princess of her People, along with a thief of the normal people that are ruled over by the Dadga. And their tempestuous meetings and growing friendship.
This book is steeped in lore, cleverly used in this tale, one that has the potential to make quite the series. The writing is smooth and easy on the eye, as it were, the language flowing well even with the foreign words. Lesley Livingston has done a wonderful job with this, and I can not wait to see where Neve's story goes from here.
A stunning Celtic YA fantasy adventure set in the ancient kingdom of Eire, inspired by the legend of the first true queen of Ireland, perfect for fans of Shelby Mahurin and Adrienne Young.
A great Celtic story with great action and an amazing protagonist. Neve was amazing and her adventures were captivating. And now I'm reading more Celtic mythology because this was great! This is a story that follows Neve, an Irish Princess, on her journey of self discovery and taking over a kingdom. I loved watching our heroine grow into herself. Our antagonist is someone who always knew what she wanted in life and consequently reached out and took it. With great force! I also found myself constantly rooting for our underdog Ronan as he, too, grew into and learned to embrace his own destiny.
Livingston has written an engaging book that, despite being historical fiction, I could sell to my students as action or fantasy (it's an easier sell for most of them). While the ending felt rushed, the rest of it was an absorbing adaptation of Irish mythology.
Received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review
RECOMMENDED FOR READERS WHO:
• Fierce Female Protagonist
• Beautiful lore & world building ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
• Action 💥 packed plot sequence
• Raw & Gritty
• Tales of Destiny (Brave style)
➣ refreshing twist in regards to the YA genre
Pacing, plot, character cast & the ending ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
I throughly enjoyed this novel. In fact, it’s one of the few lately that has held my attention throughout the entire story. While I could see a few things coming, I never felt like rushing though it. I would definitely recommend it to friends.
I really enjoyed this book! It is very complicated at times, but the writing style is unique and I loved the characters. I also loved the Celtic and Egyptian inspired elements to the worldbuilding. Highly recommend!
This was such a cool and interesting read! I will have to go and find more books on the first true queen of Ireland because if the legend is as interesting as this book was I will be a happy camper.
Such a unique book, I loved the plot and oh my god the characters we're so amazing!! I definitely will be recommending it!!
I had never heard of this author but after reading this one, im excited to read more of their work. This book had the perfect percentage of bad ass female mc, romance, action, plot twists and magic. What a beautiful book.
Reader, this may be the book that redeemed YA for me. It’s a Celtic lore based fantasy novel about Neve, the youngest princess, and Ronan, an ex-Druid’s apprentice turned thief. When the two meet at children, they never expect to see eachother again, but through a series of at least mildly magical events, they come together.
I liked this book a lot, I thought the plot carried itself well, and the world-building was wonderful. I love how Neve’s story parallels that of her ancestors, and how that melds into the story. Despite feeling slightly rushed at times, Livingston produces a great story that is well-worth reading.
‘Queen Among the Dead’ by Lesley Livingston had me hooked from the beginning. Full of Celtic influence, this fascinating, unique story fully swept me away. Definitely recommend!
Thank you to the author and NetGalley for the ARC!
This book was WILD. And I loved every second of it!
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